Poor Blackpool, beaten by Manchester in the great casino race. So sure were the media that either London or Blackpool would win, that no camera crews had been dispatched to Manchester. The unseemly haste with which they abandoned Blackpool to its winter-time desolation just about summed it up: they wanted glitz and glamour not a bleak northern beach.
But is Manchester the better place? The proposed location for the super-casino is only a fifteen minute walk from the socially deprived area of East Manchester that is the home of Channel 4's Shameless; there is no doubt of the need for investment. The Bishop of Hulme, Stephen Lowe, said as much but summed up his view of social investment based on excessive gambling saying "Can't we do better than that?".
Blackpool's image is based on fun and excess, whether it's the adrenaline rush from an experience on the Pepsi Max roller coaster, a big night out in one of the many clubs or bars or a stroll along the prom taking in the cheesy novelty of it all. On our own visit in October we spotted tourists simply enjoying watching others having fun. One Japanese tourist actually took a photograph of our favourite bright orange and blue, plastic-fronted chip shop, the inside characterised by its purely functional, vinyl bench seating and Formica-topped tables.
I would have preferred to have had no super-casino; but Blackpool's front of fun, plastic and tat surely makes it the better place to put one.